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The Observatory for Sport in Scotland is continuing to grow its network of researchers and academics across Scotland and around the world with new faces joining to inform OSS thinking.

In 2022, our research advisory group welcomed Rhona MacLennan, and her career experience in data (and coaching insight to girls and women’s sport), while Dr Julie McElroy, an award-winning academic, community athlete and disability activist, took on a new role as Disability Research Adviser. To cope with increasing demand for research, Ryan Brown became the OSS’ first Research Manager, Mark McCready joined the OSS as a new Research Officer and, working with the University of the West of Scotland, the OSS took on students Matthew Bedwell and Gregor Heath on placement as part of our commitment to help to develop the new generation of researchers and sport influencers.

The OSS Research Associate network has mushroomed to 36 members from across the UK and Europe who offer support, guidance and collaboration on OSS projects. A recent addition is Italian Marianna Pavan (right), an EU Commission expert on human rights in sport. She formed the Human Rights at Play organisation, and has been teaching at universities in Manchester, Padova and Edinburgh in recent years. She has drafted projects on forced migrants’ social inclusion through football, human rights education through physical education, integrity in sport and sport organisational good governance.

All Scottish universities and many from across the UK are represented in the OSS research network, and, with now 16 Research Assistants – from students in their third and fourth years, or studying Masters and PhDs – in total the OSS is drawing together experience, insight and support from more than 60 researchers, all of whom help to strengthen our research work, avoid replication and duplication, and improve the quality of knowledge across the sport for development landscape.

Many researchers lead on OSS projects. Dr Dawn Skelton, from Glasgow Caledonian University, is steering OSS research into activity supporting older people and people the dementia in a project in partnership with the Sporting Memories Foundation. Dr Paula Murray of Abertay University is leading on the research into children’s activity levels with colleagues David Scott and Rhiannon Lord. Professors Richard Davison and Gayle McPherson, and Dr Liz Carlin of the University of the West of Scotland, and Professor Jan Burns from Canterbury Christ Church University, are all guiding disability research, while Hiroshi Komatsu, a Japanese Masters student at the University of Edinburgh, is helping us to compare national sport strategies across the world.

The OSS is also part of several European networks, sharing research and insight to the management, development and policy-shaping of sport, leisure and recreation around the world. The OSS network met recently to share ongoing research work across a wide variety of fields, discuss opportunities for collaborations and consider Scottish research priorities in 2023-24. If you would like to join the OSS researcher network, wish to share research or discuss collaborations or opportunities for students, contact OSS Research Manager Ryan Brown – To learn more about the people in the OSS Research Network, click here.